One day I had a headache, the next I was totally and completely out of it. My son, daughter, and mother were all hit hard as well. For some reason, though, this thing got me the worst of all. I had just returned home from speaking at a women's conference in Coos Bay. Which, by the way, was a fantastic weekend. Next thing I knew, I was bedridden. I could barely breath, couldn't talk, couldn't sleep, couldn't stop coughing, and was wracked with body aches and fever. Bless my mom, who didn't get as sick as the rest of us, managed to hold the household together by a thread.
I have a whole new understanding of what it means to "stay spiritual" or not, in the midst of illness. I had some rather un-spiritual moments. No wonder marriage vows include "in sickness and in health." I cannot imagine the level of commitment, care, and love required to take care of someone who is unable to care for themselves for an extended period of time. I couldn't even stand myself during this flu, let alone my family members. I can see why they call it swine flu, it's like you're rolling in a pen of mud and misery, squealing in agony. Not a very glamorous picture for a princess warrior.
As a Princess Warrior, what did I learn during my illness? That truly God is the Only Thing I could cling to and keep a smidgen of hope in. Because, of course, being sick wasn't the only negative thing happening. Let's just say financial matters continued to harass and I had no power to deal with anything. (Is it ever just "one thing?")
I literally had to be in the moment, trusting God, and taking care of my body. When you're that sick, trying to figure things out just isn't happening. A fever-ridden brain without sleep is not able to make decisions, especially logical ones. So, basically, I had to surrender to getting better and riding the waves of misery, trusting there would be light and ultimately better health on the far side of the sickness-sea. Two weeks later, I'm far from 100%, but I'm so much better. Thank you, Lord.
Since I couldn't talk due to being so out of breath, I did a lot of silent praying. A lot of breathing in God and breathing out sickness. I had to be still and know God is God. I could hardly make it to the restroom, if you know what I mean ... I felt helpless, hopeless, and toward the end of it all, a little hostile. At one point, I actually considered that I might die from this flu. I'm so very thankful that wasn't the end result. Yet, in a weird sort of way, when you feel that ill, you make peace with life/death/whatever. When it's just you and your fever-induced thoughts, a whole lot of strange thinking goes on. I was so grateful that I had scriptures memorized and God's promises stored in my mind. When my head hurt too bad to read, I was able to call upon His truth for comfort and encouragement. He always provided just enough light.
I'm sharing this whole flu fiasco because I suspect, as always, I won't be the only one who experiences the nightmare. I want to encourage you to hang on. It will get better. I actually had to go to the doctor twice for help; thankfully, they provided assistance as they could. I also stumbled to my computer to send out short health updates on facebook, and, thankfully, kind people, friends like you, sent encouraging words and prayed for my family. I really wasn't alone -- ever -- regardless how I felt.
I guess my message is simple in a way. Let God and others love you and care for you when you can't. Sometimes reigning real includes knowing when to be still and let God work His healing magic in your heart, health, and home. Let us join together and pray for health as we move into the Holiday Season. It is a time to celebrate the goodness and glory of our King. After all, it is by His Stripes we are healed.
Lord, it's been the strangest, hardest, sickest two weeks in my life. My family has been riddled with illness, yet you sustained us and are healing us. There are many people alone and sick, who are afraid. Please bring hope and health to everyone who is sick. Reveal Yourself to each of them, for with You as our Lord, we are never alone. No matter how sick we are, or how difficult life may be, You are our hope and salvation. You can carry us through. Remind us to band together in prayer. We pray for holy health and healing, bring rapid resolution to families suffering with the flu. Keep health care professionals healthy, give them strength and courage to serve others who are sick. Instead of allowing this flu to tear people apart in fear, draw us together with love and encouragement. Let us help where we can and pray without ceasing. Amen.
Hints to help:
Bring a meal to a sick family. Offer to transport children or un-sick family members. Send a card, email, or make a quick phone call of support. Understand that the person may be unable to talk, but simply knowing someone cares will mean a great deal. Ask if you can go to the store for juice, milk, or other supplies. Check in with people. Let's be a Christian community that cares.
In Sickness and in Health, we can continue to reign real. Loving others as God loves us.